B&W Color Magazine has another single image contest coming up, this one for black and white photography, and I am seriously considering entering at least one photo in it, even though it’s $30 for one image and then $15 for each additional image, which is kinda steep to someone like me who doesn’t like to gamble with her money. However, from the issues I have browsed through (my mom got me a subscription for my birthday), I’m not seeing anything so extraordinary as to be out of my reach. I mean, wildlife photography contests get discouraging because I don’t live in the Canadian Rockies, and my little frog photos or little praying mantis photos, no matter how good, can’t compete with, say, a hapless salmon leaping into a bear’s gaping mouth.
Anyhow, I’m finding I really like black and white photography. I feel like it’s gotten me out of a rut. Because I don’t take a lot of wildlife photos this time of year, I don’t take a lot of photos this time of year. I’m indoors a lot, doing other things and dreaming of spring. But now I can grab my camera and go someplace specifically for black and white photos. Today I went looking for decrepit old factories, but wound up having the most success down at the waterfront (which should not surprise me, since it’s one of a handful of places I always find interesting things to photograph, no matter the time of year or time of day, for that matter).
You have to train your eye to take black and white photos, because a photo that really pops in color may be super dull in black and white if there is no difference in tones. A lot of the textures I love down at the waterfront don’t translate well to black and white – but a lot of them do.
I also think black and white photography is like the original abstract photography, because it’s definitely not what your eye sees. Black and white photography can transform what is to the eye an extraordinarily ordinary scene into something mysterious and dramatic. It’s what gave film stars of the ’30s and ’40s their otherworldly glamor. Even Lucille Ball and Angela Lansbury photographed like a flawless Bernini sculpture.
Here are some rocks on the beach with great shadows on them from a bit of netting:
Here is a photo of a storm taken from the top of the parking garage by my work (with thanks to a co operative sea gull for the added interest):
Some buildings downtown:
An abandoned factory building:
And, finally, fishing boats:
I really like these two for a contest: